Teaching with Contemporary Art

Vacation, Just in Order to See

Barry McGee at work

Barry McGee at work

Around this time of year, many teachers take a vacation of some kind. Some people go to the warm sunshine, some people go to Minnesota, and some go to the sunshine and then Minnesota. Regardless of how you spend the break over the next 1-2 weeks, take the time, as the philosopher, author and educator Maxine Greene explains, to break from the familiar in order to learn something new. In her book Variations on a Blue Guitar, Greene writes,

There are times in my own life when, half deliberately, I take a kind of restless action to uncouple from the familiar in the midst of ordinary life, just in order to see.

Over the next two weeks, I encourage you to take advantage of an exhibit in your area, a special arts program, or film festival. Use your visit to serve as inspiration for new lessons and units of study, or simply use the visit to inspire your own art work, often neglected in the maze of a school year. Vacations are a time when we can make a conscious choice to do something unfamiliar and break from the habitual.


  1. Nate Morgan says:

    Great suggestion Joe!! I have been taking a group of teachers into NYC to explore how contemporary art can be used in the classroom. We have spent a couple of Saturdays in Chelsea galleries..I saw a great show of Ryan McGuiness painting in SOHO and it gave me some great ideas for new lesson on symbols….

  2. Joe Fusaro says:

    Thanks, Nate!
    How did you use McGuiness to influence your teaching?

    See you at NAEA!

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